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January 26, 2020

UK’s travel advisory on Pakistan likely to mitigate FDI concerns: OICCI


January 26, 2020

KARACHI: The Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI) on Saturday said United Kingdom’s recent positive travel advisory for Pakistan was in-line with their annual security survey, and should mitigate concerns in deciding about foreign direct investment to the country.

OICCI Managing Committee welcomed the travel advisory to Pakistan issued by the UK government, which allows tourists, business travellers and British nationals based in Pakistan to travel to various parts of the country.

According to the statement issued by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) the announcement was a result of a comprehensive review of UK travel advice for Pakistan, based on a wide-ranging assessment of the country’s security situation. The UK FCO provides travel advice based on objective information to help British nationals make better informed decisions about foreign travel. It’s the first major update in the travel advice since 2015.

OICCI Secretary General M Abdul Aleem termed the upgrade in the UK travel advisory an appreciation by the UK government of the various initiatives taken by the government and the security agencies.

He said the government and the security agencies proactively tackled the security, and law and order challenges which hindered foreign direct investment in the country.

“It (advisory) is a clear message to existing and potential foreign investors that there is now no need to factor in security concerns in deciding on foreign direct investment in Pakistan.”

The OICCI secretary general said the OICCI 2019 annual security survey was shared with diplomats from UK and other countries. Besides, he said visits from senior security and other persons from the head office and regional offices of leading multinationals operating in Pakistan, also showed that confidence has been increasing.

The survey conducted in June 2019, showed that country’s security environment has further improved significantly compared to the already improved security situation recorded in the 2018. The survey was conducted among OICCI members only to critically assess the operating conditions in Pakistan.

The visibly improved security situation has boosted confidence of foreign investors and was reflected in over 65 percent increase in visits to Pakistan by OICCI members’ senior HQ/Regional management, an OICCI statement said.

This improved security environment has allowed many foreign business visitors and trade delegations being granted travel permissions for their visits to Pakistan from their respective embassies and travel security agencies.

“The new advisory will enable a large number of British nationals to devour the natural beauty of the land as well as the warmth and hospitality of the people across the country,” OICCI secretary general said.

“The UK Travel Advisory read together with the OICCI Security survey is a strong indicator that Pakistan as a destination for investors has improved significantly with less concern on overall security situation,” Aleem added.

OICCI is the largest chamber of commerce in terms of economic contributions in Pakistan. The 190 OICCI members contribute about a third of the country’s total tax collections, invested $2.7 billion last year in new investments, and employ about one million people.

The OICCI members also contribute significantly to the socioeconomic development of the community through their substantive CSR initiatives.